Unchained 26: Westie 7th, A Belgian-Style Dark Ale
It was around this time 2 years ago that I ran into the mind behind the Unchained 26: Westie 7th madness, Nick Hempfer, at a beer event. I asked Summit Brewing Company’s Nick Hempfer what he had been up to and he said he was doing a lot of thinking about Belgian candi syrup. Whether this was a cry for help or a reference to some fine-tuning of a beer recipe, it piqued my curiosity. Little did I know at the time that his brain was in the early planning stages of his second Unchained beer.
Earlier this summer, I sat down with Nick to discuss the process of how an Unchained beer comes to be. The chatter was scintillating and you can listen to the podcast from A One Pint Stand, here. Hearing Nick describe the process of the beer and how it works was informative, and at times, hilarious. As I have gotten to know Nick over the years, I have come to enjoy his incredibly dry and witty sense of humor. His facial expressions tell a story of what is going in his mind before he even opens his mouth to speak. When he does speak, you will either learn something cool about brewing, or belly laugh.
At the release party for Westie 7th, Nick was dressed as a monk which was apropos given the beer style of the Westie 7th. The beer’s name is a nod to one of the proudest neighborhoods in Saint Paul. It is also the namesake of the road that leads to one of the best and most consistent breweries in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I couldn’t wait to try the beer on tap at the event. I ordered up a pour of it and immediately beelined it to Nick to cheers him and thank him for putting together such a wonderful beer.
Westie 7th does not drink heavy, although, at 7.5%, it is something that could get one in a lot of trouble at a petting zoo. The yeast definitely did its job in this beer, leaving no syrup behind on the tongue. Rather, it is fairly effervescent and dry, which only makes you want to drink more. The malt presence and flavors of dark fruit (Raisins and plums to be specific) and caramel are perfect accents to Jack Frost’s quest to give us all shrinkage as the leaves fall and snow begins to coat the landscape. You get a nice modicum of warmth from this beer. I almost think that the beer is an extension of Hempfer’s jovial persona.
I encourage you all to get out and try this beer on tap or pick some up at the liquor store. Unchained 26: Westie 7th is the perfect transition from fall to winter. It will warm your soul and enchant your palate.
If you liked this article, consider using our Amazon Affiliate link below. It doesn’t cost you any extra and we get a small percentage of what you spend to help keep the blog going. Prost!